How Long Should You Be Sore After a Car Accident?

Legal ramifications, damage expenses - there are all sorts of problems that can arise from a car accident, and those are just the ones directly resulting from the vehicles involved in the incident.

For the people unfortunate to find themselves in the midst of an accident, the side-effects can be even worse.

It’s an incredibly emotional situation to go through, and both immediately and long afterward, stress and worry will be running high. In the worst cases, grief will even play a part. However, the most obvious aftereffects common to the majority of accidents are the physical ones.

Regrettably, some level of pain should be expected if you find yourself in a car crash, collision, or any other accident. But for just how long after should you be experiencing that pain or soreness?

There are many different types of pain that you may feel, a similar number of reasons why, and even more answers as to how long they’ll last. To find out more about them all, read on as we take a closer look.

how long should you be sore after a car accident

What types of pain can you feel after a car accident? 

Pain is caused by trauma, which is to say it’s your body’s way of alerting you to injury or something being wrong and to help you locate exactly where.

Depending on the type and severity of your pain, it should be the first indication of your recovery period.

As this article will be focusing on soreness and less serious pains, we won’t be taking a look at serious or incapacitating injuries.

Instead, these are the types of pain you can most expect to feel.

Sharp pain - this is perhaps the type that people most closely associate with pain, as it’s the ‘stabbing’ or ‘shooting’ feeling of pain that follows any impact or incident almost immediately. It’s the most reactionary pain type, and despite being the pain most often feared it usually passes quite quickly.

Aching pain - this type of pain is common, the persistent pain that lingers long after an impact or injury. It can get worse with the movement of affected areas, and in worst cases can even make moving difficult or unbearable.

Radiating pain - as the name suggests, this type of pain starts in one area of the body and expands to nearby areas. Quite often, radiating pain will begin in the neck or back and move to connected body parts, such as the arms or legs, and like aching pain it can linger.

Throbbing pain - found at points of impact or injury, this pain feels like a pulsing sensation in a specific location in the body. Though largely confined to its point of origin and rarely long-lasting, this can be particularly uncomfortable and even emotionally distressing to those affected.

Why am I feeling these pains?

Though all of these types of pain can be expected after the impact and force of a car accident, their severity varies per-incident and per-person.

The most obvious aspect is the nature and severity of the accident, with a high-speed collision likely to lead to more pain than a single-car accident. That aside, the two most important factors are a person’s medical profile and what they were doing in the car at the time of the accident.

It’s no secret that the younger you are, the more likely you’ll be able to absorb injury. This is especially true of soreness, as a young body can rebound from any pain in a shorter amount of time.

Also, someone with a clean bill of health at the time of an accident is less likely to suffer, as anyone already suffering from something like muscular pain is susceptible to have it further aggravated. Besides pre-existing conditions, any injuries that you may already have can also be worsened in a crash.

Your relationship and position with the car will influence your level of pain. It’s not always a guarantee that the driver will take the worst of the damage even in a head-on collision because it’s the point of impact between the vehicles that is the deciding element.

Similarly, in a rear-end collision the back-seat passengers are more at risk. Taking the precaution of wearing a seatbelt can reduce your risk of long-term injury from an accident and so reduce the recovery time of any you do encounter - although be aware that the nature of a seatbelt’s design means it may cause you minor muscular injuries just by keeping you in place during an accident.

Sometimes, it can be particularly confusing to feel pain after a car accident as you may initially walk away from the scene without any soreness at all. If any pain does flare up thereafter, it could be the sign of a deeper internal injury or even just a result of adrenaline wearing off.

How long will this soreness last?

As much as we would like to give you a definitive answer as to what to do or how long your individual pain will last, we can’t. The only person who can do that for you is a doctor.

With any luck, if after an accident you’re able to take yourself to a doctor then your pain and injuries may not be too serious. The best you can hope for after a visit is to be told to rest or take it easy, and the advised time for you to do so can range from a few days to weeks.

However, the medical know-how of a doctor will also be able to tell you if your soreness is something worse, and whether a longer healing period is to be expected. They can even identify any unseen injuries or pain that may have taken some time to emerge after the incident.

Generally speaking, it’s a combination of the type of soreness, your personal profile, and your relationship to the accident that will determine how long you’ll be in pain.

Put even simpler, the worse your soreness is, the longer you’re likely to feel it. Whatever the case, be sure to get a qualified medical opinion to give yourself the clearest indication of your recovery time.


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